Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Magical Mystery Tour

Step right up!  Step right up!  All aboard the Magical Mystery Tour!  No... really.  If you're as huge of a Beatles fan as I am, then Liverpool is the place for you!  Down by the Albert Docks is everything you need, whether you're a day tripper or plan on staying a long, long, long time.  But enough Beatles references.  Even for those of you who don't know much about The Beatles, you may enjoy some of the things Liverpool has to offer, both Beatle related and non-Beatle related. 

The main stop for Beatles fans should be the Beatles Story Museum.  This is a great museum for those who know a lot about the band as well as those that know very little.  Each room is set up to represent a time in the band's career.  For example, one of the first rooms is a street scene from Hamburg, Germany, where The Beatles spent a decent amount of time in their early career.  The floor was made of cobblestones, and the wall was a replication of the front of the club they used to play at.  Even all of the signs were in German.  And I mean all of the signs.  Even the ones explaining what the room represented were in German.  Following the Hamburg scene were scenes from the Cavern Club, the Abbey Road Recording Studio, the airplane they took to America, and--what we affectionately refer to as--the hall of screaming girls.  After the hall of screaming girls, which was a hallway with the video of The Beatles' arrival at JFK with mirrors so you felt surrounded by fans, was the room that ended their early career.  It had a wall of their singles from the time, and against one wall was a replica of Shea Stadium, the venue of one of their best known concerts.  After leaving the world before Revolver behind, you entered the psychedelic years.  It starts off with Eleanor Rigby's grave in front of the gates of Strawberry Fields (both real things in Liverpool) before you turn to see a life size, three-dimensional cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and a cardboard cut-out of the Magical Mystery Tour bus, complete with walrus.  And if that wasn't enough to blow your socks off, there's a yellow submarine.  An actual yellow submarine.  That you can walk through.  Complete with periscope and portholes.  I must admit that it is entirely too awesome for words.  When you exit the submarine, you come to the last stage in The Beatles' legacy.  The break-up.  The room is pretty bare except for memorabilia and photos from their early career on one wall, and a giant photo of the concert on top of Apple Studios on the other.  The story continues in the next room, however, with each corner of the room dedicated to each Beatle.  Paul's corner is set up like a stadium and focuses on his continuing music career; Ringo's corner focuses on his acting career and has movie posters all over the walls; George's corner is set up to reflect his involvement with Indian culture; and John's corner is about the protest in bed, complete with protest signs and pillows to sit on.  The final room is a memorial to John Lennon.  Everything is white, and a replica of the White Room from his New York apartment is set up with the song Imagine playing in the background.  I almost cried.  I restrained myself, though.

The front of the yellow submarine
The tour bus
The Beatles class at Penny Lane
And if that isn't enough Beatle activity for you, might I suggest taking a Magical Mystery Tour?  For those of you who have seen and remember the movie of the same name, it looks exactly like that bus.  But without all the odd characters and strong drug influence.  This tour takes you around to all of the Beatles related sights in the city such as all of their houses, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, and the Cavern Club.  It's chalk full of information about the Fab Four and their lives before they were famous.  It's completely worth the journey, believe me.

And now for those of you who aren't Beatles fans.  There's still a lot to do in Liverpool.  Down by the Albert Docks is a Maritime Museum, the Museum of Liverpool, the Tate Liverpool (an art museum), and the International Slavery Museum.  And if you're just a fan of architecture and design, than you should definitely visit the Anglican Cathedral and the Catholic Cathedral.  The Anglican Cathedral, built in 1901, has one of the tallest towers in the UK; on a clear day, you can see all the way to Wales!  In direct contrast, the Catholic Cathedral, or the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, is a modern building that was recently voted one of the ugliest building in the world by CNN.  Apparently, the voters never saw it in sunlight because the stain glass is simply breathtaking.
Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
                                 

So there you have it.  Liverpool has a little something for everyone no matter what you like.  However, if you're a Beatles fan, Liverpool is heaven!

2 comments:

  1. great report Kelley, glad you enjoyed the trip!

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